Our firm can represent you in cases involving auto accidents, slips and falls, premises liability; dog bites and other accidents.
1. The other driver's insurance company has called me – what do I do?
It is unwise to talk to any insurance representative – even your own – until you have consulted with legal counsel. If an insurance representative calls you, politely advise them you are in the process of engaging an attorney, and you will instruct your attorney to call them ASAP.
2. What should I bring to my attorney at the first appointment?
You should bring all documents with you that relate to your accident, including your automobile insurance policy; a police report (if you have one); any letters you may have received from any insurance company; the name and telephone number of any insurance representative who may have contacted you; any damage estimates for your car; any photos of the accident scene or vehicles involved; a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of any individuals involved in the accident, or a witness to the accident; and the names and addresses of all of your medical providers.
Don't worry if you do not have all of these items. We can help you assemble them after the first appointment.
3. Who pays my medical bills?
Pennsylvania has adopted what is known as a "no-fault" law, which requires your own auto insurance company to pay medical bills arising from the accident. Currently, the law requires insurance companies to not offer less than $5,000.00 of medical insurance coverage. Bills are not submitted to the other driver's insurance company.
4. I lost time from work – who pays?
In Pennsylvania, a driver may optionally purchase "work loss" coverage under his or her own automobile policy. If you have such coverage, you may be eligible to get some of your work loss reimbursed through your own insurance company up to the limits of such coverage. If you do not have such coverage, any work loss claim will generally be added to your claim against the other driver, but will not be collected until the case is over.
5. What is the difference between a "Full Tort" and a "Limited Tort" automobile insurance policy?
In Pennsylvania, a driver may purchase a "Full Tort" or a "Limited Tort" insurance policy. This selection will determine if you can pursue what are known as non-economic, or pain and suffering damages, in the event you are injured in an accident.
Generally, a "Full Tort" election will allow you to bring an action for non-economic damages for an injury, however slight. A "Limited Tort" election limits the right to sue for non-economic damages. If you have elected a "Limited Tort" policy, you may only be able to sue for "serious injuries". There are numerous court cases describing what constitutes a "serious injury", that qualifies in the limited tort claim. Many of the typical injuries sustained in an automobile accident, such as neck and back injuries, may not qualify as "serious injuries."
Only an experienced legal professional in this area of the law can advise you as to what constitutes a "serious injury."
IMPORTANT NOTE: Your selection of a "Full Tort" or "Limited Tort" policy will determine whether you can bring a claim for non-economic damages, even if you are not operating your own automobile at the time of the accident. Additionally, your children will be bound by your selection of a "Limited Tort" or a "Full Tort" policy, even if they are injured in a vehicle owned by someone else.
It is very important to review your injuries and your insurance policy with an experienced practitioner in the field of motor vehicle accidents to determine whether you can bring a claim, notwithstanding a "Limited Tort" election in your insurance policy. There are numerous technical exceptions that may apply, such that you may have a "Full Tort" remedy even though you have a "Limited Tort" policy.
6. Do I have to go to court?
The majority of accident cases do not go to court if the defendant's insurance company offers a fair and reasonable settlement and the case can be settled without the need for trial. We will carefully analyze your case and use our best efforts in order to compel the insurance company to offer you a fair and reasonable settlement. We will advise you as to what constitutes a fair and reasonable settlement in your case.
7. How does my attorney get paid?
We generally represent clients in accident cases on a contingency fee basis. Simply stated, this means if there is no recovery in your case, there is no legal fee. At the outset of the case, we will ask you to sign a Contingent Fee Agreement, which explains how and when a legal fee is paid.